Some authors erroneously think that developing a website is all they need to do to create an online presence for themselves. And some web designers and developers reinforce that idea by focusing all their efforts on the process of building the website (because that’s all they know how to do) and ignoring everything that needs to be done after it has launched.
With that in mind, here are the ways that authors and their website development companies should continue to interact with each other — and with the website — in the years to come.
1. Keeping the site current. There’s nothing worse than building a website and then letting it sit stagnant for months or years to come. What’s are readers supposed to think when they see that the site is still saying “Coming Soon” in reference to a book that was released last year? Or that the blog hasn’t been touched in months? Basically, any information on that website is going to be taken with a grain of salt. Not to mention the fact that a site that isn’t updated regularly makes it look like the author is neglecting his or her readers.
2. Driving traffic to the site. “If you build it, they will come.” That may be true of a ballfield, but it’s not true of a website. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done to start driving traffic to a website after it’s launched, and then keeping that traffic growing over time. All authors should continue to work with their website development company and/or a PR person to work on search engine optimization, a blog tour, e-mail newsletters, social networking etc… so that all the time and effort put into building the website doesn’t go to waste.
3. Maintaining a partnership. Too many companies that design websites simply hand them over to the author when the design and development are done. They then wash their hands of the project and disappear into cyberspace. But unless that author happens to be a web developer and marketing expert, she’s going to be left high and dry. If you’re an author who is getting a website built, make sure the company you work with will host the site, manage any technical problems you have down the line, send you site traffic reports regularly, and make updates to the site upon request. Even if your site has a content management system that allows you to change text and photos, you’ll still need a professional to do some design tweaks when you want to feature your new book or change the overall layout of your pages.
This is why working with Smart Author Sites makes so much sense for authors. We offer all of these services. We build a long-term relationship with our clients — from hosting and consulting services to design changes and marketing plans. Our blog and client newsletters are full of free marketing ideas. Work with us, and you’ll never be “left hanging.”